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Hot Stone League

Larry Stone gives his take on a wide array of baseball issues and weighs in about the Mariners, too.

June 10, 2009 at 2:22 PM

Jake Locker could have baseball in his future as a fallback

But relax — he’s not abanding his post as quarterback of the Huskies.

Repeat: He’s going to be the Huskies’ quarterback for the remainder of his college career.

Just to clarify: He’s not quitting football.

To reiterate: Still a football player.

Just got off a conference call with Jake, and he stressed that football is his top priority, but that baseball presents a nice fallback option if football doesn’t work out. So he’ll talk to the Angels about signing a deal. If it happens, the Angels would retain his rights for six years — long enough for Locker to get a good idea about whether an NFL career is in his future.

This sounds like a smart thing to me. He’ll pursue football as far as he can go, but if something should happen — and football is a brutal game, as we all know — he would have something to fall back on.

Locker said that the Angels are aware that football is his top priority. But they apparently think very highly of Locker, having drafted him in the 40th round out of Ferndale High School, and in the 10th round today.

I’ll have a story on this posted on the website soon, but a couple of interesting tidbits:

One, Locker can not use an agent, or he would lose his eligibility. So his family will do the negotiating.

Two, if he signs, he would have to give up his college scholarship. He would, in essence, become a walk-on, and the Huskies would be able to hand out another scholarship to someone.

Three, the Angels would almost certainly cover the loss of scholarship by paying for his final two years of schooling. No doubt that would be part of any contract agreement they reached.

Here’s a quote from Jake: “I’m staying put to play football at Washington. The Angels understand football is my priority, and what I’m giving my devoted effort to right now. We’ll see where it goes from there.”

Asked if signing with the Angels is an option: “Yeah, definitely, if we can come to agreement on some kind of contract terms. That’s something we’re looking into right now.”

Locker said football “has always been my passion, what I’ve always loved doing.” But when I asked him to describe his relationship with baseball, he said, “I love baseball, too. I love playing the sport. It’s a great game. It’s a game that takes a lot of mental toughness, and the ability to overcome failure every day. There’s something that’s challenging about that, and enticing about that, as well. But at the end of the day, I have a passion for football.”

He said the security of signing a baseball contract is enticing. “I don’t know how it would not be enticing to anyone.”

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